Three scholars who took part in collaborative research on constitutions in various countries, Zachary Elkins from the University of Texas, Tom Ginsburg from the University of Chicago University and James Melton from University College in London, have published an article about Iceland’s draft constitution praising it for being “tremendously innovative and participatory.”
Alþingi. Photo copyright Icelandic Photo Agency.
In the article, ‘A Review of Iceland’s Draft Constitution,’ which is part of the Comparative Constitutions Project, Elkins, Ginsburg and Melton write that should the proposed draft be adopted it would be “at the cutting edge of ensuring public participation in ongoing governance.”
The authors state that constitutions do not generally last long; according to their research, the median life expectancy for a constitution is 19 years. If Iceland’s draft is adopted, its current constitution, from 1944, will have existed for 69 years.
When compared to the constitutions of other countries, the draft is concise and one of the most inclusive in history, according to the article’s authors. While the draft has more rights than the current constitution, it has significantly less than other recent constitutions such as that of Bolivia and Kenya.
A non-binding national referendum on whether to adopt the draft constitution will take place on October 20.
Click here to read more about the draft constitution.